On September 15, PJMedia ran a piece by me about the famous Muhammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who a couple of days earlier was scheduled to have taken part in a press conference in Oslo, Norway, to celebrate the publication of a new children's book for which he had drawn the illustrations. Instead of attending the conference, however, Westergaard rushed back to his native Denmark the day before. The reason originally given for his cancellation was that he had taken ill; but it then emerged that there had been concerns about his safety, and that the report of illness was a cover story. Reports were inconsistent: while the Norwegian security police, the PST, claimed that Westergaard himself had made the decision to return to Denmark, Geirr Lystrup, author of the book for which he had done the illustrations, said that the PST had made the call. Meanwhile the nature of the threat that had led to Westergaard's departure remained murky.
Since then there's been a bit more news, though contradictions, and questions, remain. Two days after my article appeared, the Norwegian daily Dagbladet reported that the reason why Westergaard was hustled out of the country was that "a known Norwegian criminal had acquired automatic weapons and explosives" with which he intended to kill the cartoonist in a devastating act of Islamic terrorism. This criminal was arrested on the morning of September 13 — the day on which the press conference was to take place — for a traffic violation. But despite the arrest, Westergaard was asked to return home, apparently because the PST still feared that associates of the "known criminal" — who has not been named — would carry out the planned attack. Why those associates, too, were not placed under arrest remained unclear. So did the reason why the "known criminal" was arrested for a traffic violation and not for planning an act of terrorism. Indeed, there was a great deal that remained unclear.